KHL analyst Aivis Kalniņš believes Kovalchuk wants to return to the NHL. The Russian sniper retired from the NHL back in 2013 in order to play in the KHL after 11 seasons in North America. He was just three seasons into a controversial 15-year, $100MM contract when he retired.
Kalniņš reported that CSKA has begun contract talks with former NHLers Kovalchuk and Viktor Tikhonov; while Tikhonov is considered close to an extension, Kovalchuk is not. It’s a similar situation to Radulov, in that CSKA attempted to sign him but he chose to leave money on the table to give the NHL another go.
Whether or not the NHL allows Kovalchuk to return is another question. Because he signed his voluntary retirement papers, all 30 NHL teams would have to approve the move. It’s unlikely that 29 teams would approve a competitor’s bid to sign a former consistent 30-plus goal scorer.
- Brayton J. Wilson of WGR 550 in Buffalo reported a hard-to-believe stat about the Sabres. With their win over Minnesota, the Sabres are now 4-3-2, or one game over 0.500. Wilson reported that this is the first time the Sabres have been over 0.500 since the third game of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. That’s 299 games ago, and a sign of the harsh realities of being a struggling franchise in the NHL.
- After being shut out for the third consecutive game, Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter told reporters his message to the team was “there’s nobody coming in on a white horse to play goal for us or score goals or to come up [from the minors].” The Kings have approximately $1MM in salary cap space, despite placing the injured Jonathan Quick on LTIR. While Quick’s injury does give them some space in the interim, that would go away when he returns in three months, which rules out trading for Jaroslav Halak and likely Ondrej Pavelec too.